harm

noun
\ ˈhärm How to pronounce harm (audio) \

Definition of harm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : physical or mental damage : injury the amount of harm sustained by the boat during the storm
2 : mischief, hurt I meant you no harm.

harm

verb
harmed; harming; harms

Definition of harm (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to damage or injure physically or mentally : to cause harm (see harm entry 1) to No animals were harmed in the making of the film. the national interest … was gravely harmed by this attack— Elmer Davis

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from harm

Verb

harmer noun

Synonyms for harm

Synonyms: Noun

affliction, damage, detriment, hurt, injury

Synonyms: Verb

damage, hurt, injure, wound

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for harm

Verb

injure, harm, hurt, damage, impair, mar mean to affect injuriously. injure implies the inflicting of anything detrimental to one's looks, comfort, health, or success. badly injured in an accident harm often stresses the inflicting of pain, suffering, or loss. careful not to harm the animals hurt implies inflicting a wound to the body or to the feelings. hurt by their callous remarks damage suggests injury that lowers value or impairs usefulness. a table damaged in shipping impair suggests a making less complete or efficient by deterioration or diminution. years of smoking had impaired his health mar applies to injury that spoils perfection (as of a surface) or causes disfigurement. the text is marred by many typos

Noun

harm, injury, and damage mean an act that causes loss or pain. harm can be used of anything that causes suffering or loss. The frost did great harm to the crops. injury is likely to be used of something that has as a result the loss of health or success. She suffered an injury to the eyes. damage stresses the idea of loss (as of value or fitness). The fire caused much damage to the furniture.

Examples of harm in a Sentence

Noun

They threatened him with bodily harm. The scandal has done irreparable harm to his reputation. She'll do anything to protect her children from harm. They have suffered serious physical harm. These new regulations could cause lasting harm to small businesses.

Verb

He would never intentionally harm his children. chemicals that could harm the environment The scandal has seriously harmed his reputation.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Claire manages to convince patriarch Herr Mueller that the Cherokee mean no harm, but everything falls apart a few day later when his family (including the sweet new baby) contracts the measles and die. Mehera Bonner, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 6 Biggest Reveals from 'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 5," 3 Dec. 2018 Most kinds pose no harm and even contribute to healthy digestion, but a few strains can lead to illness when transmitted through food, water, or other people and animals. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Romaine Lettuce Is Not Safe to Eat, CDC Warns After E. Coli Outbreak," 20 Nov. 2018 Luckily, the owner was able to scare the coyote and no harm was done to the dog. Cheryl Conley, Houston Chronicle, "The top dog: Coyotes are interesting canines," 10 July 2018 Never mind that some of them put their soldiers in harm’s way in perilous places such as Helmand province in Afghanistan. The Economist, "Will Donald Trump be Triumphant, Tetchy or Torpedo?," 5 July 2018 If not, there's no harm done beyond this season and a smart try. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "NBA Free Agency 2018: Under-the-Radar Grades," 4 July 2018 They are made from compounds found in chrysanthemum plants and typically cause no harm to people or pets. Jennifer Walter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ticks are appearing more frequently in backyards. Here's how to target ticks close to home.," 3 July 2018 In November, he was charged with assault by bodily harm and assault by offensive contact, both misdemeanors. Ruth Brown, idahostatesman, "The man accused of killing toddler, stabbing 8 refugees, was arrested just 2 months ago," 2 July 2018 Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Emma Platoff, star-telegram, "In Sunday sermons, Texas faith leaders rebuke Trump's 'zero tolerance' policy," 17 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The intense solar radiation that cause aurorae can at times be strong enough to interfere with satellites and GPS systems, cause power outages, and even harm astronauts. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "When the Sun’s Magnetic Field Squashes the Earth’s Magnetic Field, Beautiful Things Happen," 14 Feb. 2019 Research is still ongoing, but science consistently supports the fact that vitamins in supplement form can may harm rather than protect cells. Good Housekeeping, "Exactly What to Eat to Boost Your Immune System, According to a Registered Dietitian," 30 Jan. 2019 Targeted drugs aim to attack genes or proteins specific to cancer cells without harming healthy cells. Lucette Lagnado, WSJ, "For Children With Cancer, Hope for New Treatments," 15 Jan. 2019 The idea is to create just enough space between the door and the post of the car to insert the rod, without harming the paint or the structure of the car. Andrew Northshield, Popular Mechanics, "How To Get Keys Out of a Locked Car," 19 Dec. 2018 The rollback is going to harm us economically and hurt us physically. Rob Jackson, Scientific American, "Relaxing Vehicle-Efficiency Standards Is a Truly Dangerous Idea," 12 July 2018 Batista said the department will put out a special directive that says officers will not strike anyone in the head who isn't trying to harm them. Hollie Silverman And Phil Gast, CNN, "Arizona officers on administrative leave after punching unarmed man," 6 June 2018 Last year, Mathew Sterling entered the convention on the first day with an arsenal of weapons, intent on harming police officers and a celebrity guest, according to court records. Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "Phoenix Comic Fest 2018 takeaways: What went well (and what didn't)," 30 May 2018 Frigg met with all living things (plants and animals) urging them not to harm her son. Adam Schubak, Country Living, "Here's How Kissing Under the Mistletoe Became a Christmas Tradition," 29 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of harm

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for harm

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English hearm; akin to Old High German harm injury, Old Church Slavonic sramŭ shame

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about harm

Dictionary Entries near harm

harlot

harlotry

harls

harm

harm's way

harman

harmattan

Statistics for harm

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for harm

The first known use of harm was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for harm

harm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of harm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: physical or mental damage or injury : something that causes someone or something to be hurt, broken, made less valuable or successful, etc.

harm

verb

English Language Learners Definition of harm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause hurt, injury, or damage to (someone or something) : to cause harm to (someone or something)

harm

noun
\ ˈhärm How to pronounce harm (audio) \

Kids Definition of harm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: physical or mental damage : injury The storm did little harm to the sheltered beach.

harm

verb
harmed; harming

Kids Definition of harm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause hurt, injury, or damage to Too much sun can harm your skin.

harm

noun

Legal Definition of harm

: loss of or damage to a person's right, property, or physical or mental well-being : injury

Other Words from harm

harm transitive verb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on harm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with harm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for harm

Spanish Central: Translation of harm

Nglish: Translation of harm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of harm for Arabic Speakers

Comments on harm

What made you want to look up harm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!